UNCASVILLE, Conn. (WTNH) — Up until now, those wanting to buy a Tesla would have to take a detour out of state. But, that is about to change.
“[I’m] extremely excited,” said Kevin Lowry, the assistant general manager at Mohegan Sun. “You know Tesla’s brand is one-of-a-kind.”
Come this fall, Tesla will be opening its first sales and delivery center within Connecticut at the casino.
State law requires vehicle makers to sell their products through dealerships. However, Tesla sells its vehicles directly. The electric vehicle company is therefore able to avoid that state law by building on the Mohegan Tribe’s land.
“While we align with many Connecticut laws and regulations by operating on sovereign land. we don’t necessarily have to abide by every law and regulation,” Lowry said.
Gov. Ned Lamont spoke about the decision on Thursday, a day after Tesla’s announcement.
“I think it’s within Mohegan Sun’s right to do it,” he said. “They are a sovereign nation.”
Bradley Hoffman, the co-chairman of Hoffman Auto Group, said the group’s issue isn’t with Mohegan Sun.
“Our issue is with Tesla, and them frankly evading the law that is in Connecticut right now,” he said.
Hoffman Auto Group doesn’t believe dealerships in the state — which already sell more than 65 different types of electric vehicles — will be affected. But, it is concerned the Tesla consumer won’t have dealership support.
“Also, that is a check-and-balance with the manufacturers themselves,” Hoffman said.
The Tesla showroom will be located right across from Todd English’s Tuscany in The Shops at Mohegan Sun.
Casino guests will be able to see and buy the Teslas in the showroom, and they’ll take delivery at the nearby Sky Valet. While a customer may not immediately be able to pick up their new car after buying it, the wait to do so should be shorter than if they had to go outside of the state.
The Sky Valet is also where people will be able to take a Tesla for a test drive. Lowry said there will be five vehicles to test drive, and a garage will have space for up to 150 Teslas.
Mohegan Sun guests will be able to use their Momentum Dollars to buy an EV.
Tesla will also offer technician training to tribal members and some casino workers, although no cars will be serviced or repaired at the casino.